James Sabatino Added to USA Swimming Banned List

  16 Lauren Neidigh | January 11th, 2017 | National, News

USA Swimming has banned former coach James Sabatino, effective December 2nd, 2016. Sabatino began teaching swim lessons in 1999. He eventually started Cannonball Rockingham, a team for swimmers with special needs. He was also selected to represent New Hamshire as the Special Olympics Nationals coach in 2006. Beginning in 2010, Sabatino worked as the head coach of Cannonball Swim Club in New Hampshire.

Sabatino has been banned under 7 sections of the USA Swimming Code of Conduct. Each of those code of conduct sections is listed below.

SECTION 304.3.5

Any sexual conduct, advance or other inappropriate sexually oriented behavior or action directed towards an athlete by (i) a coach member or other non-athlete member, or (ii) any other adult participating in any capacity whatsoever in the affairs or activities of USA Swimming (whether such adult is a member or not). Any nonconsensual physical sexual conduct, or pattern of unwelcome advances or other sexual harassment in connection with or incidental to a USA Swimming-related activity by any person participating in the affairs or activities of USA Swimming (whether such person is a member or not) directed toward any member or other person participating in the affairs or activities of USA Swimming.

SECTION 304.3.7

Any sexual conduct, advance or other inappropriate sexually oriented behavior or action directed towards an athlete by (i) a coach member or other non-athlete member, or (ii) any other adult participating in any capacity whatsoever in the affairs or activities of USA Swimming (whether such adult is a member or not). Any nonconsensual physical sexual conduct, or pattern of unwelcome advances or other sexual harassment in connection with or incidental to a USA Swimming-related activity by any person participating in the affairs or activities of USA Swimming (whether such person is a member or not) directed toward any member or other person participating in the affairs or activities of USA Swimming.

SECTION 304.3.8

Any inappropriate sexual conduct or advance, or other oral, written, visual, or physical conduct of a sexual nature directed towards an athlete by (i) a coach member or other non-athlete member, or (ii) any other adult participating in any capacity whatsoever in the activities of USA Swimming (whether such adult is a member or not). Any act of sexual harassment, including without limitation unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature in connection with or incidental to a USA Swimming-related activity by any person participating in the affairs or activities of USA Swimming (whether such person is a member or not) directed toward any member or other person participating in the affairs or activities of USA Swimming.

SECTION 304.3.15

Any other material and intentional act, conduct or omission not provided for above, which is detrimental to the image or reputation of USA Swimming, a LSC or the sport of swimming.

SECTION 304.3.17

Any other material and intentional act, conduct or omission not provided for above, which is detrimental to the image or reputation of USA Swimming, a LSC or the sport of swimming.

SECTION 304.3.18

Any other material and intentional act, conduct or omission not provided for above, which is detrimental to the image or reputation of USA Swimming, a LSC or the sport of swimming.

SECTION 305.1

Inappropriate touching between an athlete and an adult non-athlete member or Participating Non-Member (as defined in 401.1) is prohibited, including, but not limited to, excessive touching, hugging, kissing, sexually oriented behavior, sexually stimulating or otherwise inappropriate games, and having an athlete sit on a non-family member adult’s lap.

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16 Comments on "James Sabatino Added to USA Swimming Banned List"

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USA Swimming spent so many years burying their collective heads in the sand when actual sexual predators were being reported, the knee jerk reaction is that everyone is guilty…..without even the opportunity to prove innocence. While these rules clearly exist for the safety of the athletes – and rightly so – the is zero recourse for these coaches when there is a questionable claim made against them. There is no opportunity to discredit, no chance for contradicting witnesses. Things are taken as fact, no questions asked. Certainly not defending actual misconduct, nor temporary bans until proven innocent or guilty. But while lives were being ruined when US Swimming ignored the althletes claims, lives are again being ruined when due diligence… Read more »

It is clear to me that you have no idea what the process actually is that everyone had to go through. It is unfortunate that due to your ignorance you have stated several falsehoods.
1. There is recourse for coaches – s/he has opportunities to present his/her case, present evidence, use witnesses.
2. “Things” are not taken as fact and there are MANY questions asked, I can assure you.
3. You assume that due diligence was ignored and there was little evidence – actually quite the opposite.

His investigation took over a year, so I wouldn’t consider this a knee jerk reaction

His investigation took over a year, so I wouldn’t consider this a knee jerk reaction

Join the discussion

As what is listed in the article is not bad enough I am guessing that the sections are wrong. Although I was certainly aware of ethical problems and complaints wrt JJ and figured that there unfortunately was more to the ban – looking at the 2016 USA Swimming rule book: 304.3.5 Violation of any of the Sexual Misconduct Reporting Requirements set forth in Article 306 or the Prohibitions Against Retaliation for Good Faith Reporting of Abuse set forth in Article 307. 304.3..7 A Any inappropriate sexual conduct or advance, or other inappropriate oral, written, visual, or physical conduct of a sexual nature at any time, past or present, directed towards an athlete or any person under the age of eighteen… Read more »

Swimdad – the sections referenced above are the specific ones given by USA Swimming for his ban, and most are from older versions of the USA Swimming handbook. USA Swimming can ban coaches based on the rules in place at the time of the alleged violations, and according to their citations, that’s what they have done here.

http://www.usaswimming.org/ViewMiscArticle.aspx?TabId=1963&mid=10011&ItemId=5107

The correct citations are
3.04.3.5 failure to report sexual misconduct as outlined in article 306
304.3.7 is Bullying
304.3.8 is sexual misconduct
304.3.15 is non concensual physical contact abusive language or gesture towards a USA Swim official
304.3.17 Violation of team conduct as established by USOC USAS ZOne or LSC
304.318. Any other act deemed detrimental to USA Swim LSC or swimming
305.1 inappropriate touching between a swimmer and non athlete member

Long overdue

This makes a lot more sense as it is more consistent with what I know of the man. I do not know him personally, however, all but the sexual misconduct happened in plain sight on deck at many swim meets.

I have conferred with USA Swimming, and the sections as Lauren referenced above, from older codes of conduct, are correct. Not the ones that SWIIM4LIFER have posted.

Thanks for the clarification Braden. Very confusing how they list them without directly referencing the year of the code of conduct violation as the same violation is renumbered as changes are made to the code each year.

What I have learned from this is that unless the year (version) of the rulebook is mentioned for each of them the code of conduct indices are useless.

Something like 2013.304.3.15 rather than 304.3.15 would be a lot less ambiguous – but I guess that is something for USA swimming to ponder…

It’s about time!! Anyone who has ever come in contact with this loser would tell you that. I can’t believe there are still parents on that team who allow their children to swim there. Doesn’t he still own the team? (Or his wife, which is a big ruse.) Be careful parents!

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About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona and the University of Florida. She's currently working on her Ph.D. in Criminology at Florida State University, but seems exceptionally confused about which team she should be cheering for during the college football season. Lauren hopes to pursue …

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